A 35-year-old ICBM missile silo north of Davenport is being converted into one of the world’s most impenetrable storage centers.
Dane Armstrong, a Davenport native who operates several companies and real estate investments from his Friday Harbor, Wash., home, heads a partnership that in January bought the empty silo and surrounding 20 acres for $32,000.
Armstrong, a 1967 Davenport High School graduate and partner in the city’s Elliott Motors automobile dealership, said he’s converting the reinforced concrete bunker into a storage site for dead company files, boats and recreational vehicles.
Above ground, a mobile home for a caretaker will be installed at the site 13 miles north of Davenport and 10 miles south of Lake Roosevelt.
“People are always looking for good dry space,” Armstrong said of the 10,000-square-foot underground structure. “You couldn’t build it for that (price).”
The silo was one of nine built by the government in 1960 as a deterrent to a possible Soviet nuclear attack on Fairchild Air Force Base. An Atlas-E missile was housed in the silo for two years before the Pentagon removed it and sold the property back to the late Ed McCaffery, a local farmer, for $5,700.
Armstrong bought the silo from McCaffery’s daughter-in-law, Carla, a Coeur d’Alene resident. Carla McCaffery said that she also sold about 800 acres of cropland surrounding the silo to two different farmers. At one point, she had asked $1.12 million for the farm and missile silo.
Enclosed behind a 7-foot cyclone fence, the missile site includes two huge industrial water pumps, a sewage treatment plant and a Quonset hut. An old car, some children’s toys and a farmer’s combine for many years were the lone occupants in the bowels of the 200-foot-long bunker.
The silo had been for sale for nearly two years. Various investors had looked at the site to possibly convert into a mushroom plantation, fish farm or real estate development.